I am sleek, modern, and functional.

I’m also an identical twin to a lot of other websites, but who cares? I get the job done, and I don’t embarrass anyone.

Find out more.

This is a basic, standard website…

My creator used premade templates to put me together like a prefabricated home. I might have a few tweaks, like color modifications or icon choices. Maybe a slideshow added in. All such tweaks will be like the blue footer at the bottom of this page: minimal and simple.

My creator might also have to include add-ons or adjustments for security or SEO or some such thing.

Altogether, I’m normal. Lots of other sites look like me.

Some website makers hate that uniformity and make pointed, NSFW protests. If you’re on a budget and getting the site running as fast and inexpensively as possible, then this is the type of website you want.

There’s nothing wrong with templates. They’re just common. So if they suit your goals for your site, go for it.

Upsides:

  • I’m in a standard format. If a visitor has been to another site with the same template, they already know what to do here.
  • I’m inexpensive. Because the bulk of the work of designing the appearance and developing the code are already done, most of what’s left is the installation.
  • I’m popular. Many people use prebuilt templates for their websites, so a lot of developers know how to work with them or even specialize in working with them.
  • I’m replaceable. If done right, it’s minimal investment that can be easily expanded or replaced later, as your needs change or grow.

Downsides:

  • I’m only as good as my template. This applies to what I look like, what search engines see, how much I can be expanded, and how likely I am to break in the future.
  • My feature list can mismatch your needs. You might need a feature I don’t have, or I might have features you don’t need. Both situations can cause headache in fixing.
  • I was created to be acceptable. There are a lot of details that go into producing truly good composition and code, that’s responsive and accessible and scaleable and future-proofed and

A Note on Doing It All Yourself:

If you are truly strapped for cash, it is possible to put up a website yourself with a free or inexpensive template. If you do that, avoid customizations at all unless or until you learn how to set them up as “children” of the root template. This can increase page load, but it makes updating and maintenance a hell of a lot easier, and it protects your customizations from being overwritten/erased by updates.

If your site needs to function for folks who have various forms of disabilities, you need a template that’s “accessible”—there are “accessibility standards” for building sites that work well with blindness, color blindness, various cognitive difficulties, etc.

Any template you use should be “responsive”. A responsive site will work on various devices, like phones.

If your site is intended to appeal to people in a particular field who have a specific preferred aesthetic—you’ll most likely need a premium template, if not a custom build.

A Note on DIY Website Programs:

You know, those programs like Wix and SquareSpace and Weebly and Dreamweaver where you drag and drop and click through the settings to make the appearance you want?

What the advertisements don’t tell you: Such automated website builders (and design converters) come with limited features, produce bloated code that search engines tend to dislike, and give you limited ability to expand as you want to customize the appearance or add features in the future.

That means free site builders can be okay for hobbyists having fun, but for a business or a professional? You probably don’t want to do that to yourself.

Cost for a Basic Website

This will be the cheapest form of web design, setting everything up via premade templates.

Do It Yourself

Free to $300+ USD / 4–20 hours

You find templates and add-ons and install them, yourself.

How long this takes you will depend very much on your web host, how computer-savvy you are, how much you already know about websites, and if you find good walkthroughs that suit your specific situation. However, if you hit hour 10 and are still struggling with what to do, it’s time to look for another tutorial.

If you’re broke:
Two terms that can help are “open-source” and “free for commercial use”. Those licensing phrases can keep you from accidentally stealing someone else’s code.
Outsource It

$50–500+ / 1–8 hours (of your time)

You hire someone else to install everything for you.

All time investment on your end will be explaining what it is you want or checking the delivered result. An experienced developer should be able to provide a structure to help you provide the information they need and for running tests of their own. How long it takes will depend on the organization and communication skills of both parties and how much testing you need or want to do.

If you want alterations:
How easy anything is to modify depends very much on how the template is set up. Things that could be quick and easy to adjust on one template will kick another project from being “basic” to “advanced”.
These estimates assume you have no or minimal content to convert, a simple site of some pages and a portfolio and blog, and a minimum of simple adjustments to the theme.
None of these estimates include the price for the domain name or web hosting, which can be found for about $50 per year for usual small site needs.

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Basic Website

This puts everything into premade templates. No or minimal customizations.

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Advanced Website

This takes the premade templates and customizes them. Moderate customizations.

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Artisan Website

This takes your desired design and/or functions and starts there. All customizations.

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